Before Jason Bierig joined the finance department at HCZ, he worked as a caseworker in a local congressional office. There, he connected constituents to services and support for everything from speed bumps to immigration issues.
The work afforded many triumphs – awarding veterans with backpay, getting passports for children without birth certificates – but he was keenly aware that such victories were only possible through the partner agencies and their representatives.
Naturally, then, the difficult moments came when he was left without the support of those partners. If representatives at various agencies didn’t pick up the phone, Bierig’s constituents were left in the dark. He still smarts at the memory of an immigrant mother who was detained while reentering the U.S., leaving her husband alone with their children. The husband came pleading for help.
“It’s hard to tell a grown man sobbing in your office ‘no’ when he’s coming to you for help, hoping you have something,” said Bierig. His agency contacts couldn’t provide much help. “If the other players aren’t going to play ball, there’s only so much you can do, and that’s unfair to the person looking for help.”
His work at the congressional office instilled in him a deep sense of empathy and urgency, both of which drive him to this day. As HCZ’s assistant controller, Bierig—who has now spent years supporting finance departments of various community nonprofits—has found another way to make an impact on the lives of the people HCZ serves: providing support to the HCZ finance team in funding resources for thousands of children and families.
“The volume of work [at HCZ] never goes away,” said Bierig. “We need to keep things going. If I’m late on my assignments, I’m holding back other people on my team.”
While Bierig himself indirectly works with the 14,000 children HCZ serves, he understands that finance directly impacts them. Bierig’s work includes overseeing the organization’s audits and revenue team that helps to fund projects that empower HCZ’s community.
“I may not be the frontline staff of HCZ – who are amazing at what they do. But I know [my job on the HCZ finance team] helps put money and resources into the hands of people who are making a difference,” said Bierig.
To handle the number of demands he fields every day, Bierig must be pragmatic and organized. On his desk, a massive, neon clock aids his time management. He’s careful about keeping tabs on assignments. (He still remembers his first boss who kept a “skyline” of papers on his desk.) At the end of the day, Bierig is known as one of the last people to leave the administrative office night after night.
“Some people in the for-profit sector can sometimes have a crisis of conscience when riding the wave of making money,” said Bierig. “But [at HCZ], I know the results of my work and the work of the finance team results in something meaningful.”